Veliparib for the treatment of ovarian cancer

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2016;25(3):367-74. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2016.1146677. Epub 2016 Feb 16.


Introduction: Ovarian cancer represents the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, with an incidence of 6.1 cases per 100.000 women and a cumulative lifetime risk of 0.5%. Treatment is based on debulking surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy, with the potential combination with taxane. However, the recently available data on the genetic basis and aetiology of ovarian cancer has led to the development of new anticancer drugs. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are one of the most promising new classes of targeted agents currently under investigation for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Veliparib is a small molecule that inhibits both PARP-1 and PARP-2 and was originally shown to be efficacious in BRCA-associated tumors.

Areas covered: This manuscript reviews the Phase I and II studies investigating the use of veliparib in ovarian cancer. This article also provides and discusses the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of veliparib.

Expert opinion: It is still being discussed whether PARP inhibitors should be used in a front-line or relapsed setting, alone or in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy or as maintenance treatment. In terms of veliparib, further investigations are needed to explore its full potential in ovarian cancer. It is hoped that the ongoing phase 3 trials will help to further elucidate it potential as a treatment option.

Keywords: PARP inhibitors; Veliparib; chemotherapy; ovarian cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzimidazoles / pharmacokinetics
  • Benzimidazoles / pharmacology
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • veliparib